Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Autism Therapies--successes and questions

I wanted to review the different types of therapies for treating/educating/helping children who have autism:

Applied Behavioral Analysis (ABA)
Rapid Prompting Method
Sensory Integration

Gluten Free/Casein Free Diet
Speech/Language Therapy
PECS/Electronic Voice Output Devices
Any others?

Another reader had mentioned that he uses Chelation Therapy—removal of toxic metals from the body (such as lead and mercury) for his child and has reported some success.

For my daughter we have used ABA, Floortime, Sensory Integration and tried the Gluten/Casein Free Diet. ABA was (and is) used throughout Meghan's education and has shown to be the best method in teaching her; after only 6 months of using ABA, she showed significant improvement--from 3 - 3.5 years old.

Speech Therapy was, of course, the staple therapy throughout her education and therapy programs, both at her school and throughout the day and also at a therapy rehab center. We have used both communication books and hand-held computer devices. Both work pretty well, however, the book was by far more reliable and readily available. All of the computer devices that we've used broke down at some point in time and needed to be sent back for repairs. (Note: our local school system paid for these (costly) devices and necessary repairs and was stipulated in her IEP.)

Sensory Integration helps her to better focus on her work and alleviate anxiety while she is at school. I also had her see an OT therapist at a local rehabilitation center who helped us understand and learn the "how tos" in maintaining a sensory diet at home. Incidentally, therapy at the rehabilitation center was paid for through a supplemental insurance--which we had to pay for in a monthly fee but greatly reduced the costs of expensive therapy.

We did not see much improvement while she was on the diet, perhaps slightly less hyperactivity and aggression, but nothing significant--as also revealed in other studies and reports. This is also a difficult diet to maintain, you really have to spend time in your local health food store reading labels--and the additional cost of the food does add to your weekly food bill--but if it works for your child, then it's worth it! You should also do your research and discussed this diet with your child's pediatrician to maintain optimal health.

And as always, before you decide on a therapy for your child, do your own research and discuss them with your child's doctors.

Any thoughts or comments on these therapies? Any success stories of your own?


Anonymous said...

High quality ABA such as C.A.R.D. (not the pathetic Massachusetts' version), biomedical interventions, chelation and never vaccinating again.

And the last person I would speak to would be an ignorant doctor who had no clue to biomedical intervention and would just bash it and immediately side with the Pharm. companies. I would only trust one highly trained DAN in the biomedical area.

Anonymous said...


A helpful blog for parents.